Thursday, April 16, 2015

Four True Stories!

True Story #1: I used to cut my own bangs. You might find this very difficult to believe from this picture.
True Story #2: The Cheesy Winey Puffy Casserole RecipeThis is the true story of how you, and you, and you can make a Cheesy Winey Puffy Casserole just like I do!
1) Rinse 2 cups of dried peas very carefully. Be sure to remove any small twigs or stones that might have slipped through during processing. Pour the peas into a large bowl of cold water. Now, gently set them aside and tiptoe away from them. They are not needed in this recipe. It is okay. Walk away from the peas.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3) Go find the bottle of red or white wine--yes, that's good, that one. Now test it to make sure the quality is good. No. You will need a larger glass than that to adequately test it. Better still: Do you have a pitcher? Oh. Too bad. Just swig from the bottle, then.
4) Wander off and check "To Do" list for the week. Remember that you have not mailed books and jawbone and ribs of deer to your sister as intended--sister has strange "natural history" shelf in her garage that this item (found in gully next to house) must grace. Wonder whether, if the post office clerk asks you "Do you have anything hazardous, liquid, perishable, etc.," you should proudly cry out, "I have bones!" Make mental note not to do so.
5) AUGH! Stink! Smoke! Fire alarm going off! What the hell did you leave in the oven? Should have checked before turning oven on and preheating. Should always, always check. Don't you remember that long-ago roommate who liked to "store" baked products wrapped in plastic in the oven? Check oven. Oven perfectly empty. This is somehow more distressing than finding smoldering and incinerated molten mass of plastic and toasted bread.
6) Retrieve small black dog from where she cowers in corner. Recently, you have discovered that she is terrified of fire alarms. No other sound scares her. Just fire alarms. Once again wonder whether she survived a fire in "the old country" and ran away. Small black dog is briefly consoled and then slinks back to the corner where she hides, shivering and gazing at you with giant, sorrowful eyes.
7) Drink some wine. Try to soothe small black dog with a series of treats. Coax her out from corner. Small black dog accepts each treat weakly, as if a delicate, delicate invalid, gobbles them all down, and then slinks back to the corner where she hides, shivering and gazing at you with giant, sorrowful eyes.
8) Yank battery out of fire alarm and put on mantel where, you once again reflect, it will do you NO GOOD in the event of an actual fire.
9) Okay. Down to business.
Layer in an oiled baking dish: 3 cups grated cheese and 4-6 slices of bread. Pour over it: 1 1/2 cups milk and 1/2 cup wine. Mix separately and pour over bread: 3 eggs beaten; 1/2 tsp. salt; 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce (I LOVE Worcestershire sauce...I believe I would drink Worcestershire soda if it existed); 1/2 tsp. thyme; 1/2 tsp. mustard; and freshly ground pepper. Let stand for 30 minutes. Bake for 1 hour in a pan of hot water.
10) I never use the exact quantities above. Sometimes I use three different kinds of cheese, sometimes just one. Sometimes more mustard, sometimes less...

True Story #3: Yesterday, I found myself wandering aimlessly about in Home Depot. This can be dangerous fun, because one can sometimes wander into the path of tooting trolleys loaded with burly men hovering over large volumes of lumber. Of course, when I say "One can sometimes wander," I mean "I always wander." Once there, I freeze--hypnotized by the slow, majestic advance of the tooting trolley, its flashing warning lights, and the worried eyes of the large men-- and I start to slowly dance...I'm going right now, no...I should go left and hide in hardware, no, they're slowly veering left, so I'll...I look like a small, deranged dancing bear. This is really more dangerous than fun and kinda mortifying.

So, to flee the tooting trolleys, I ambled into the Garden Center and started smelling all of the flowers. This made me look more purposeful, yet also a little insane. Still, it was a lovely day, and I sniffed daintily along through the rows--a little hyacinth here, a little rosebud there, trying to figure out what I am going to put in my four new windowboxes--until I realized that I was absent-mindedly singing along with "Wonderwall" by Oasis which was booming out overhead from the store music system. Okay. I wasn't just SINGING. I was kind of poutily crooning in a save-me-I'm-a-misunderstood-unibrowed-Brit-bad-boy-rocker-from Manchester-England-by-way-of-New-Hampshire-USA accent, "Bee-cawz MY-bee...ya gonna be the one to SYVE meeee..." And suddenly, emerging from the heart of a thicket of potted arborvitae, I heard a kinda pouty-sounding deep bass voice singing in a kinda save-me-I'm-a-misunderstood-unibrowed-Brit-bad-boy-rocker-from-Manchester-England-by-way-of-Rhode-Island-USA accent "...And aftah AW-uhl yer my wondAH-WAWHL-uhl-uhl..." And other little pockets of people began to pop out all around me--behind that rack of heather, hunkered down by the potting soil--all of us softly singing in pouty-sounding fake British accents. Let it be known that very few of us--myself included--actually knew the lyrics, and we relied on a blend of the fake British accents and humming to see us through. It was a kind of swiftly-moving magic, really. Then the song ended, the moment was past us, and we all scattered off--some of us looking purposeful, some--who might not or might have been me--looking glazed and sporting a fine dusting of pollen on the ends of our noses.

True Story #4: Whatever gets you through the's all right, it's all right!